The Surface Transportation Board has extended antitrust immunity for the motor carrier rate bureaus -- but only on the condition that the rate bureaus adjust class rates to market-based levels.
Similarly, STB extended antitrust immunity to the National Classification Committee but said it must allow shippers more opportunity to participate in the freight classification process.
Under the ICC Transportation Act of 1995 rate bureau approval is reviewed every three years. In December 1998, just before existing approvals were to expire, STB issued temporary extensions along with sharp criticism of the existing rate setting process. Specifically, it criticized the bureaus for publishing class rates that are routinely discounted and almost never charged.
The rate bureaus asked for a reconsideration of the 1998 opinion, which STB denied. To date, it said, no bureau has satisfied its concerns.